Selldorf Architects has collaborated with Hauser & Wirth on its spaces internationally since the founding of the gallery in 1992. In each location, the goal is always to create strong, well-proportioned spaces that place art at the forefront of the visitor’s experience. Selldorf’s project with Hauser & Wirth on West 22nd Street in Chelsea is the first purpose-built, ground-up building for the gallery. Beautifully and subtly articulated, variously scaled volumes of space throughout the 36,000 square foot structure feature natural light and flexible configurations. Permanent site-specific artist interventions throughout the building – including in stairways, elevators, and other public spaces – embody Hauser & Wirth’s commitment to the importance of engaging with art and artists.
West Chelsea has seen tremendous growth in the last decade. West 22nd Street retains several original red-brick buildings that speak to the district’s history as a place of industry and production. Seeking to present a contextual and sensitive attitude to this highly distinctive, historic context while still creating forward-looking architecture, Selldorf Architects has given 542 West 22nd Street a contemporary masonry façade. Its dark grey palette is comprised of concrete blocks and zinc panels, punctuated by large glazed openings offering views out of and into the building. The concrete blocks are sustainably sourced and incorporate recycled waste glass and aggregate.
Inside, large column-free spaces provide flexibility for a wide range of installation approaches. Careful detailing in the galleries distinguishes their atmosphere from the typical contemporary art warehouse vocabulary. Polished concrete floors and white plaster walls throughout are designed to create an unobtrusive setting that foregrounds the art on view. The ground floor and second floor spaces that front West 22nd Street feature sixteen-foot and twelve-foot tall glass doors, respectively, that fold away completely, opening the façade up to further engage the public with the art on view.
To accommodate the exhibition of exceptionally large works of art, another 18-foot high, column-free and clerestoried gallery on the fifth floor has a large glazed roof hatch that enables works to be craned into the building from the street. Here an expansively scaled ten-foot square picture window provides another sightline into and out of the gallery. In addition to exhibition space, the second floor includes a multi-purpose bar and event space, which will be host artist talks and other public programs and gatherings. Private offices and showrooms occupy the third and fourth levels.
Read more about the project in the December issue of Architectural Record.
(Photography credit: Nicholas Venezia)